Computer speakers get far less attention than their more expensive counterparts – home theater system speakers. While the latter are much fussed over, adequately researched, tried and tested before buying, most consumers just pick up whatever they can get their hands on (and can afford) at the local electronics store when it comes to computer speakers. The truth is that most of us spend far more time before a laptop or desktop than watching movies on the TV; doesn’t it make more sense to invest more time and money into buying the best computer speakers you can afford?
A decade or so back, when multimedia computers were still an anomaly and things like ‘Dolby Digital Surround Sound’ were just technical gibberish terms, computer speakers used to be puny little devices capable of reproducing only the poorest quality sound. Of course, things have changed best computer speakers since then. Today, you can buy the best computer speakers that will reproduce lifelike sound at an affordable price.
There are some big brand names that always come to the mind when talking about the best computer speakers. Creative, Logitech, Altec Lansing, JBL are a few of them. These companies have a long history of excellence. Some, like Logitech and Creative, are often far more visible in the computer speakers market than in the home entertainment system segment. The quality of their products for laptops and desktops, thus, is typically of a higher quality than similarly priced competitors.
There is a caveat, however. Before you set your eyes on buying the best computer speakers you can afford, you must understand that a lot depends on your laptop or desktop’s sound card too. The purpose of this card is to render and process audio information. Almost all computers have an in-built sound card typically capable of doing an adequate job of audio reproduction for day to day use. Every sound card comes with its own software, which, in most cases, is bundled up along with the motherboard drivers.
However, to get the most out of your audio experience, you should consider getting an additional sound card installed. This additional card would fit into your motherboard’s PCI or PCI Express slot. The audio quality offered by this card would be much better than the standard card that is built-in in most motherboards. This card is capable of high quality, multi-channel audio reproduction (Dolby Digital Surround Sound, etc.). It may also have multiple ports for recording audio. If you are an audiophile, or enjoy recording music on your computer, then you should definitely consider getting an additional sound card for your system.
Nowadays, you can also purchase an external sound card that fits into the USB port. This type of card is meant more for audio professionals who need to carry their equipment around and is not recommended for home users.
Computer Speakers Buying Guide
Once you have a quality sound card – whether in-built or purchased additionally – you can get down to buying the best computer speakers for your needs. For this, you have to understand your requirements and budget first. A set of high quality speakers can set you back by over $200, while you can get an ‘adequately’ functional speaker system for less than $50.
For audiophiles, nothing less than a 5.1 speaker system would do, though a set of quality 2.1 computer speakers would be quite adequate as well. Hardcore gamers would do well to invest in a surround sound system as it would provide the highest level of immersion into the gaming experience. Musicians and hobby recording artists should invest in a set of studio monitors. These are a typically a set of 2.0 speakers with strong bass output. They do not have any in-built equalizer, so you get the most faithful reproduction of your reproductions and can adjust the mix levels accordingly.